BILBAO – To show their rejection of the far-right political party Vox, residents have disinfected several streets in Bilbao. They were carrying mops, wearing protective clothing and posters reading “anti-fascist disinfection”.
The decontamination activities followed a visit from Vox Vice President Javier Ortega Smith on Friday. The Vox politician was at a meeting with party members in Bizkaia. Among them, are the Vox candidate for mayor of Bilbao in the next municipal elections, Diego Setién. And also the president of the party in Bizkaia, Niko Gutiérrez.
The residents are outraged. They believe it is no coincidence Vox visits their neighbourhoods, which suffer from institutional neglect and social exclusion. Only a few neighbourhoods experience the highest levels of poverty in the Basque Country, a relatively wealthy autonomous community.
Protesters in Zabala, San Francisco and Bilbao la Vieja wrote a statement. They said, “there is a deterioration of public services, housing problems, lack of basic needs and institutional racism”.
The residents assure that one of the reasons why, as in 2020, Vox chooses these neighbourhoods in Bilbao for its political meetings is because they are “lively and organised neighbourhoods with residents in solidarity who support each other and who denounce institutional laziness”. And those, as in this case, “any expression of a fascist nature that fights machismo aporophobia, racism, homophobia or transphobia. And Vox represents all of that, which is why we expel Vox and its fascism from our neighbourhoods.”
Vox held the meeting amidst protests and a large police presence. Aside from all the criticism, Bilbao’s social groups and the mayor, Juan Mari Aburto, have demanded “a comprehensive and interinstitutional plan that really addresses the problems and urgent and real needs of the neighbourhoods.